Rush hour traffic was heavy across England today when the new national lock began – more than three times higher than during the first lock in March after an exceptional shutdown last night.
The congestion in London today was 38 percent between 7 and 8 a.m. and 56 percent between 8 and 9 a.m. Data from location technology company TomTom also showed that the capital had 536 traffic jams on 255 miles of roads.
On the first day of the first lockdown – March 24th – the congestion was 15 percent at 7 a.m. and 16 percent at 8 a.m., which means that by the time the second lock started this morning at 8 a.m. times higher.
However, it's still well below normal levels before the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK, with congestion on March 5, a normal Thursday before the lockdown, at 57 percent at 7 a.m. and 70 percent at 8 a.m.
Morning congestion today was significantly higher than the roughly 28 percent seen last week in both cases, though much of it will be due to the lack of a school run due to the mid-term break.
But traffic between 7 and 8 a.m. was lower today than it was earlier this week: 43 percent on Monday, 52 percent on Tuesday and 47 percent yesterday – and from an average of 52 percent at the same time last year.
The congestion level is the additional travel time that drivers experience on average compared to non-congested base conditions. A level of 38 percent means that a 30-minute journey takes 38 percent more time than without traffic.
Heavy commuter traffic struggles through thick fog on the A40 at Perivale in West London towards the capital this morning
Crowds of commuters at London Bridge Underground Station on the platform of the Jubilee Line this morning during rush hour
The congestion on March 5, a normal Thursday before the lockdown, was 57 percent at 7 a.m. and 70 percent at 8 a.m. On the first day of the initial lockdown – March 24th – it was 15 or 16 percent. Today it was 38 percent at 7 a.m. and 56 percent at 8 a.m.
Commuters sit close together while others stand on a train on the Jubilee Line in London today as the new lockdown begins
According to location technology company TomTom, congestion in London between 7 and 8 a.m. this morning was 38 percent
It comes after amazing traffic was seen yesterday, with queues at the level usually seen in the days leading up to Christmas. In London alone, there were 1,100 miles of traffic jams at 6 p.m. and the M25 was almost brought to a standstill.
In 16 out of 24 cities, congestion was worse than normal – and with drivers reporting colossal traffic jams, the RAC said breakdown reports were up 15 percent compared to normal.
The RAC, who said the increasing breakdowns were "a sign that the roads are much, much busier," added the spike yesterday was caused by families heading for shopping trips and recreational trips before the lockdown.
There were huge queues outside the shops in a rush to stock up and beer was sold for just 99p a pint before it started. Buyers filled their cars before staying home for four weeks with only substantial trips.
Commuters at Canning Town tube station in East London this morning on the first day of the second lockdown
Commuters travel on the Jubilee Line in London this morning on the first day of the second national lockdown for England
People standing on an escalator during rush hour this morning walking down the steps at London Bridge Station
Traffic on the M60 heads into Manchester this morning as the second national lockdown goes into effect
Today, pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops in England were forced to close again and the public was instructed to stay home for the next four weeks to reverse the spread of Covid-19.
It is reported that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will confirm this morning that the 80 percent vacation program will continue for businesses closed beyond this embargo due to restrictions.
Meanwhile, the prime minister has been warned by a group of Conservative MPs from the north that they do not want their constituencies to be suspended indefinitely as opposition within the party seems to be mounting.
Jake Berry, chairman of Tory Backbenchers' Northern Research Group, has asked Boris Johnson for more clarity on a roadmap of action for the second time in just over a week.
Traffic on the M25 around Greater London is up this morning as traffic jams remain high in the capital despite the closure
Traffic just before 8 a.m. on the East London Highway today at the start of a four-week national lockdown to England
Commuters at London Waterloo Station at 8:13 a.m. today during the morning rush hour as the new lockdown begins
Commuters at Leeds train station this morning at 8:31 a.m. at the start of a four-week national lockdown on England
Traffic on the M25 this morning as people keep commuting to work despite the start of the second national lockdown
Commuters at London Waterloo station at 8:10 a.m. in rush hour at the start of a four-week national lockdown
Last evening, MPs voted 516 to 38 votes – a government majority of 478 – for the new rules, which are due to expire on December 2nd. Yet 32 Tory MPs bucked the whips to vote against, and two more acted as narrators for the Noes.
The new restrictions were then approved by Parliament after being approved by the House of Lords.
The lockdown comes with a number of exemptions, including students who continue to attend school, unlimited outdoor exercise, and “safe visit” for nursing home residents and their families.
Under the new government guidelines, nursing home visitors will be encouraged to meet their loved ones through a window or in an outdoor setting because of concerns about the emotional harm to residents and their families.
Customers enter the Ole & Steen bakery and cafe on High Street Kensington in West London this morning
A customer enters a pret cafe in the Kensington High Street shopping arcade in West London today
Leon is open to customers this morning in Kensington, West London, although they are not allowed to sit inside
Belgian chocolate company Leonidas is only open for takeout this morning in the High Street Kensington mall
A customer leaves the Oree Pastry Shop in Kensington High Street in West London this morning
The guidelines, which were issued less than 12 hours before new lockdown measures came into force, have been criticized by nursing experts and dismissed as “warm words”.
Starting today, all high school and college students and teachers in England will be required to wear face covers when moving around the site.
People of Wales can return to pubs and restaurants, and schools will reopen when the country's two and a half week “fire break” ends next week.
A regionally tiered approach to restrictions applies across Scotland, while Northern Ireland pubs and restaurants are still closed after four weeks of closure from October 16.